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Using Freelancers To Grow Your Digital Agency

freelancersIf you are looking to grow your , but are not ready to take the plunge and hire more permanent staff, freelancers can be an excellent solution. Although outsourcing work to freelancers remotely is an option, using freelancers in-house is an even better way to deliver a full agency offering, without the additional overheads and responsibilities fulltime employees entail.

Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the amount of businesses using freelancers, and digital is leading the way. Web designers and developers, as well as social media freelancers and other digital experts, are a large part of the economy. Are you utilising this talent pool in your agency?

Why Freelancers Are A Great Resource

For a growing agency one of the key benefits of using freelancers is that you get an expert to complete a specific task without having to find them work once that project has finished. While the decision to recruit a permanent team member will depend on whether you have the on-going workload to keep that employee busy and productive, with a freelancer this does not come into the equation.

Not only that, if you get your recruitment right, you get someone who will come with great experience from other agencies that you can learn from and implement in yours too.

Digital freelancers are also cost-effective and can mean that you are able to engage a more experienced and talented individual than you could possibly afford if they were salaried. Although their day rate may seem high, remember this is not a long-term cost: paying an experienced UX designer £450 per day to get the job done in a short, intense period of time, could be a lot more cost-effective for your agency than taking on a full-time UX designer.

This also means that you can handpick the right freelancer for the specific project you have. A freelancer can be brought in with exactly the right background and experience needed for that particular project. For example, if you require a web developer for an eCommerce site you can focus your recruitment purely on those developers with extensive experience of eCommerce. This is particularly valuable if your agency handles a variety of different jobs; an in-house developer might not have such specialist knowledge and therefore the job could take longer as they get up to speed.

Finally, using freelancers can help you decide where you need to spend your staffing budget. If you find that you are regularly using a freelancer in a specific role, it might be time to employ a full-timer. Your experience with working alongside freelancers will help you determine who you need in your workforce; whether that is to create a new role, or to employ people with specific skills or attributes that will help your agency thrive.

Many businesses build lasting relationships with individual freelancers, employing them time and time again to support them in key areas. Sometimes this even results in employment opportunities, a great solution for the agency owner who has in practice already “tested the goods”!

Key Recruitment Points To Remember With Freelancers

  1. Don’t be frightened off by day rates – you only pay these for a short period of time,
  2. Get an expert – no need to recruit a ‘generalist’ if you have a specific job that needs doing,
  3. Tap them for agency knowledge – their experience in other agencies can be valuable for yours. If they say “this is how so-and-so does it”, listen up – it could help improve productivity and profitability,
  4. Check references – employing a freelancer is a significant outlay so make sure you ask for and check references,
  5. Ensure reliability – many people are put off using freelancers because they worry about reliability. You can help ensure professionalism by checking references but also by using a freelance agency service from a specialist recruiter.

There is a huge talent pool available for the digital agency made up of excellent freelancers in all kinds of disciplines. Is it time you took advantage?

If you can add any advice for digital agency owners looking to recruit freelancers please leave a comment below.

For an informal chat about your freelance recruitment needs, or to discuss your freelance career please get in touch. You can email me on matt@wearesource.co.uk or call 020 3116 0000. Our current freelance opportunities are .